Does Cheese Have Lactose

Does Cheese Have Lactose
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Many readers are interested in the following topic: Foods High in Lactose. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

While milk chocolate contains less lactose than milk or cream, it still contains dairy in high amounts. Always check the label and eat in moderation.

Can People Who Are Lactose-Intolerant Still Enjoy Cheese?

Food writer, cookbook author, and recipe developer Jennifer Meier specializes in creating healthy and diet-specific recipes.

Updated on 09/28/19
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Before discussing whether or not people who are lactose-intolerant still enjoy cheese, it is important to differentiate between being lactose intolerant and having dairy allergies. Lactose intolerance is characterized by the inability to digest lactose sugar, one of the major components in milk. On the other hand, if you have dairy allergies it is more likely you have a reaction to either the casein protein or whey protein in milk.

Symptoms of Lactose-Intolerance

The signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes to two hours after eating or drinking foods that contain lactose. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, and sometimes, vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Gas

Causes of Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when your small intestine doesn’t produce enough of an enzyme (lactase) to digest milk sugar (lactose). Normally, lactase turns milk sugar into two simple sugars — glucose and galactose — which are absorbed into the bloodstream through the intestinal lining.

If you’re lactase deficient, lactose in your food moves into the colon instead of being processed and absorbed. In the colon, normal bacteria interact with undigested lactose, causing the signs and symptoms of lactose intolerance.

There are three types of lactose intolerance—primary, secondary, and congenital or developmental. Different factors cause the lactase deficiency underlying each type.

When to See a Doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you frequently have symptoms of lactose intolerance after eating dairy foods, particularly if you’re worried about getting enough calcium.

Cheese Is Still OK for Some Lactose-Intolerant

For some people who have determined they are only lactose intolerant, cheese can be eaten. This is because lactose is primarily in the whey, not the curds. When cheese is being made (with the exception of some soft cheeses that contain whey, like ricotta) the whey (liquid) is discarded and the lactose goes with it.

Eating Aged Cheeses

Curds still have a little bit of lactose, but not much. As cheese ages and loses moisture and becomes hard, there is even less lactose left in the curds. The longer a cheese is aged and the harder texture it has, the less lactose remains. Some people who have trouble digesting lactose can eat cheese that has been aged until it has a hard texture. Another option for people who want to avoid lactose is to eat lactose-free cheese substitutes.

Does Goat Cheese Have Lactose?

Some believe that cheese made from goat milk is the easiest type of cheese for lactose-intolerant people to digest. Goats’ milk basically has the same amount of lactose in it. However, it is naturally homogenized, which can make it easier to digest.

“Naturally homogenized” means the fat globules in the milk are small and remain suspended in the milk rather than separating out. This makes the milk easier to digest. In cows’ milk, the fat globules are large enough that they will separate from the liquid and become hard to digest. A way to visualize this is to think about the thick layer of fat that rises to the top of cream made from cow’s milk.

Foods High in Lactose

Lactose is a sugar found primarily in milk and other dairy products. At an early age, bodies are able to break down and digest lactose from breastmilk using an enzyme called lactase. However, some people lose the ability to digest lactose over time.

Around 75% of the world’s population has some form of lactose intolerance. Some can digest low-lactose diets, while others experience digestive symptoms after eating any amount of dairy. These symptoms can lead to diarrhea, stomach pain, and more.

Why You Should Avoid Lactose

For those with no sensitivity to lactose, dairy is a highly nutritious source of protein, calcium, and other vitamins like A and D. Including dairy in your diet can support your bone health and reduce the risk of obesity.

However, those with lactose intolerance — whether mild or severe — should consider a low lactose or lactose-free diet to reduce symptoms.

Lactose intolerance is caused by a decrease in lactase production, which makes it difficult for the lactose to become properly absorbed. Difficulty digesting lactose affects different populations in varying ways.

Studies estimate that it affects 5-17 %of Europeans, 44 % of Americans, and 60-80 % of Africans and Asians.

For those sensitive to lactose, dairy products can cause severe digestive problems, including:

  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

The severity of the symptoms depends on the level of lactose intolerance, as well as how much dairy was consumed.

Even for those with no sensitivity to dairy, cutting down on dairy can offer certain health benefits.”

It can also increase the risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Foods With Lactose

Most dairy products contain lactose, but some contain more than others. The following foods contain the highest levels of lactose. However, keep in mind that other products may also contain these foods as ingredients and should also be avoided if you are lactose intolerant.

1. Milk

Milk contains the most lactose out of all the dairy products. Whole milk contains about 13 grams of lactose per 1-cup serving, while skim milk can contain between 12 and 13 grams. Milk is also an ingredient in many other foods like margarine, shortening, baked goods, salad dressing, creamers, and more.

2. Cheese

Cheese also contains a high amount of lactose. Hard cheeses such as parmesan, Swiss, and cheddar may be easier to digest because most of the lactose is eliminated while the cheese is being made.

3. Cream

Products made from cream — like ice cream, cream cheese, custard, or butter — should be avoided due to the high levels of lactose.

4. Yogurt

In addition to some kinds of cheeses, some people with lactose intolerance may be able to eat yogurt in moderation, as the lactose has been partly broken down.

5. Milk Chocolate

While milk chocolate contains less lactose than milk or cream, it still contains dairy in high amounts. Always check the label and eat in moderation.

Lactose-Free Alternatives

Lactose intolerance can make consuming dairy difficult. However, lactase enzyme tablets are available to help break down lactose, allowing people to eat more dairy products.

In addition to these over-the-counter enzyme tablets, you can also try a low-lactose or completely lactose-free diet. Here are some alternatives that may be easier to digest:

Foods Low in Lactose

The following foods and drinks are considered low lactose, which means they still contain lactose, but in smaller amounts. Different people may react differently to these foods, so it’s important to eat in moderation until you know how your body will react.

  • Dark chocolate
  • Aged cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Probiotic yogurt

Lactose-Free Foods

These lactose-free alternatives can allow you to consume typical dairy products — like milk, cheese, and ice cream—without the side effects.

  • Lactose-free milk
  • Milk alternatives (soy, almond, oat)
  • Non-dairy creamers

Show Sources

Alternative Medicine Review: “The Role of Enzyme Supplementation in Digestive Disorders.”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Dairy products, yogurts, and bone health.”

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “The acceptability of milk and milk products in populations with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance.”

Dairy Nutrition: “Lactose Intolerance: Health Authorities’ Recommendations.”

Journal of Translational Medicine: “Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health.”